SB 93

84(R) - 2015
Senate Transportation
Senate Transportation
Transportation & Infrastructure

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Positive
  • Neutral


Rodney Ellis

Bill Caption

Relating to the suspension of a driver's license for failure to pay a surcharge.

Fiscal Notes

The fiscal implications of the bill cannot be determined at this time. It is unknown how many people would no longer pay surcharges under the Driver Responsibility Program given reduced consequences. 

Bill Analysis

This legislation would amend the law to strike the provision that allows for the suspension of a person's driver's license if the person fails to pay the driver's license surcharge under the Driver Responsibility Program. To better understand the background behind this legislation it is worth reading the author's statement of intent in full.

"The Driver Responsibility Program (DRP) was created in 2003 to help fill a budget shortfall and to encourage people to drive more responsibly. The program requires drivers convicted of certain traffic offenses to pay annual surcharges to maintain their driver's licenses. If a person fails to pay the surcharge, which is assessed on top of court fines and criminal penalties, it results in an automatic license suspension.

While DRP has provided needed funding for Texas trauma care and emergency services, it has also created more problems than it has fixed. DRP has generated far less revenue than anticipated, it has not improved public safety, and it has increased financial hardships for lowincome families. In addition the program has led to more uninsured drivers on the road. Since the inception of the program over two million licenses have been suspended. Currently more than 1.2 million licenses are suspended under the program."

Vote Recommendation Notes

The Driver Responsibility Program is another example of a well-intentioned  government program gone wrong. There is no reason for the state to continue going out of its way to create a financial hardship for people convicted of traffic offenses. The concept of an annual surcharge as a condition of maintaining a drivers license is unnecessary, overly punitive, and disproportionate to the offense for which the surcharge is levied. Suspending a license for failure to pay simply makes things worse.

SB 93 supports limited government and individual liberty. For these reasons we support SB 93.